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How to Reset a Cat's Dislocated Shoulder

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Muzzle

  • Welding gloves

  • Towel

  • Board

  • Cat Carrier

  • Veterinarian

There is no safe way to reset a cat's dislocated shoulder at home. This is one of the few occasions where a pet owner will have to bite the bullet and take the cat to a veterinarian. There are a few steps you can take, however, to make the transportation and care of the cat easier until such a time that you can seek appropriate veterinary medical attention. The physical restraint of the cat is of utmost importance. A scared cat who is in pain may react in fear and dart off, or react with aggression towards its owners or handlers. Taking the proper precautions to keep you and the cat safe until help can be found is one o the few things you can do at home to help with the repair of a dislocated shoulder in a feline.

Place a muzzle specifically designed for cats onto the feline. You won't get any love for this, but it will keep you and medical personnel from receiving a nasty injury from a scared and pained cat.

Wear welding gloves when handling the cat. Even if the cat would, under normal circumstances, be an angel, she is in pain right now and her actions are unpredictable. Claws and teeth are the biggest danger.

Wrap a towel tightly around the cat, securing all limbs if possible. Do not force limbs into an unnatural or ergonomically unsound position.

Secure a second towel around the cat, who is wrapped in one towel already, and the wooden board. This will keep him from moving about and possibly injuring himself further. Think of it like a feline stretcher.

Place the cat into the carrier, and head to your veterinarian's office he can correct the problem.


  • Speak in calm, soothing tones to the cat. Despite all the upheaval that is going on, the cat is more likely to de-stress if her owners are calm.

    If possible, spray a calming solution formulated specifically for animals into the cat carrier. Bach Flower Remedies "Rescue Remedy" or Feliway brand calming solutions are just two examples of these items.

    If your cat will allow it, stroke and pet him. Speak slowly and calmly. Do not make any quick or sudden movements and do not stroke or pet areas that cause pain or more distress.


  • Although a dislocated shoulder may seem like a problem that can be solved at home, it cannot. Nerves, tendons and ligaments may have gotten moved when the shoulder was dislocated, and pushing the shoulder back into place may damage them. There also may be more damage than just a dislocated shoulder. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to reset a dislocated shoulder without the aid or supervision of a certified veterinary medical practitioner.